…τί μοι καὶ κῆτος ἐπισσεύῃ μέγα δαίμων
ἐξ ἁλός, οἷά τε πολλὰ τρέφει κλυτὸς Ἀμφιτρίτη:
[I’m afraid] that some god’s going to send a great sea-monster against me; glorious Amphitrite breeds them in numbers.
To get you in the mood for Halloween 2023, we’ve curated a spine-tingling collection of destinations intertwined with maritime legends and mythical tales to get you in the spooky spirit.
The Mediterranean has been a cradle of civilization, a melting pot of cultures, and an endless source of inspiration for poets, artists, and explorers. Its rich history is filled with mythological tales, legendary sea creatures, and eerie ports that have fascinated mankind for millennia.
Are you ready to meet the ghostly crew of a phantom galleon at sea, or sail past the rocky shores of Sicily where mythical sea monsters once lured sailors to their doom?
The Flying Dutchman
Today, we’re diving into the intriguing world of spooky stories, and our first stop is the legendary tale of The Flying Dutchman. The legend weaves the tale of a ship cursed to roam the open seas forever, unable to find safe harbor.
The origins of the legend of this Dutch man-of-war date back to the seventeenth century. The ship’s infamous captain was said to have been inspired by the tales of Barend Fokke, which some believed were made possible by an unholy alliance with the devil. Are you ready to face the possibility of a spine-tingling encounter sailing in the seas?
The Dragon of Capodimonte Bay: Legend of San Fruttuoso Abbey
In the beautiful bay of Capodimonte, nestled between the picturesque towns of Camogli and Portofino on the Ligurian coast, lies a hidden gem known as the Abbey of San Fruttuoso.
But beneath the serene beauty of this place lies a tale that’s equally captivating and scary. According to local folklore, an imposing and malevolent dragon once resided in the bay. This terrifying creature struck fear into the hearts of both locals and passing sailors, who avoided the area for fear of becoming its next victim.
Legend has it that two disciples of San Fruttuoso, Giustino and Procopio, were guided by an angel to this enchanted place where they planned to build a church. Upon arrival, with the angel’s help, they faced the dragon in an epic battle. Ultimately, they defeated the mighty beast and the abbey was built in honor of their beloved companion San Fruttoso.
But are we certain the dragon was truly defeated? Dive into the depths of the sea on an thrilling adventure with us to uncover the truth.
Sailors’ Nightmare: Scylla, Charybdis
Strait of Messina, Italy
Scylla and Charybdis are legendary sea monsters from Greek mythology, and their story stems from ancient tales of sailors navigating the treacherous waters of the Strait of Messina, which separates the Italian Peninsula from the island of Sicily. The tale of Scylla and Charybdis served as a cautionary tale about the perils of navigation and the challenges of making decisions in difficult circumstances.
According to the myth, Scylla, originally a nymph of breathtaking beauty, was turned into a hideous monster by the sorceress Circe. She and Charybdis, a devastating sea creature created by Zeus, plagued the waters of the strait. Charybdis had the ability to swallow and spew seawater, creating deadly whirlpools.
And now we ask, are you bold enough to navigate these treacherous waters and brave the company of these mythical monsters?
And as a reward for the brave, a stone’s throw away from the challenging waters lies the charming town of Taormina, famous for its ancient Greek theater, a beautiful countryside with hidden gems, and a variety of cultural events.
The Cave of Odysseus: A bewitching place Even Zeus couldn’t distract you from
Mljet Island, Croatia
Nestled along the majestic coast of Croatia, in a hidden corner of the world, lies the mysterious Cave of Odysseus, a place steeped in charm and legend. Located near the island of Mljet, this cave is steeped in Greek mythology and tells the story of the legendary Odysseus, the king of Ithaca.
The Cave of Odysseus is closely associated with the epic journey of The Odyssey, in which Odysseus and his crew find themselves trapped on the island of Ogygia, ruled by Calypso, a beautiful nymph. The story tells how Calypso enchanted Odysseus with her charms and kept him in her cave for seven long years, preventing him from returning home.
Even Zeus himself tried to intervene, but was unable to distract Odysseus from the seductive Calypso and Odysseus’ cave.
Just as Odysseus fell under the spell of Calypso, those who venture into the Cave of Odysseus will be spellbound by its mesmerizing beauty… and perhaps, like him, they too will lose themselves within its depths for a timeless journey.
The Gorgons of Corfu
Defined by the New York Times as “…the finest example of surviving archaic temple sculpture”. Corfu boasts an incredible historical treasure – Greece’s oldest stone pediment, displayed in the island’s Archaeological Museum. This extraordinary relic hails from the Doric Temple of Artemis, its roots dating back to 590-580 BC portraying the Gorgons.
As you gaze upon it, Medusa, a name whispered with dread, takes center stage. She was one of the notorious Gorgon sisters, her hair a serpentine tangle, her gaze a curse. Even the bravest souls trembled in her presence, for her petrifying stare could imprison men in stone for all eternity.
In myth, two of the Gorgons, Stheno and Euryale, were immortal, but their sister Medusa was not and was killed by the hero Perseus.
The Gorgons were feared and worshipped in ancient Greece, and their images were used as apotropaic symbols to ward off evil. Yet, their connection with the underworld loomed large, with Medusa, the gatekeeper to Hades, guarding the passage into the abyss.
Are you ready to experience the enchanting island of Corfu and confront the chilling gaze of this ancient representation of Medusa? We assure you that, unlike those unfortunate souls who crossed her path, you won’t be turned to stone.
After all, who said that yachting and spooky stories can’t go hand in hand? Share with us your best spooky stories!
Let us take care of you and your itineraries and don’t hesitate to reach out for more details.